Egyptian court sentences to death 683 Muslim Brotherhood members
The group's leader, Mohammed Badie, also gets the death penalty. The court had sentenced 529 people to death back in March, a decision criticised by the UN Human Rights Commission.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A judge at the Muslim Brotherhood trial in Egypt has recommended the death penalty for 683 people, including its leader Mohammed Badie (pictured).

The judge convicted the defendants over an attack on a police station in Minya in 2013 in which a policeman was killed. He also confirmed the death sentences of 37 of 529 death sentences out of 529 passed in March, commuting most to life in prison.

The sentences had drawn widespread criticism from human rights groups, the United Nations, the United States and Europe.

A spokesman for United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the "cursory mass trial" was "rife with procedural irregularities."

Many of the lawyers for the accused boycotted today's hearing, demanding that the judge be recused and calling him a "butcher".

The trials took just hours each and the court prevented defence lawyers from presenting their case, this according to Human Right Watch.

Egyptian law requires that death sentences be confirmed by the presiding judge after a comment has been invited from the Grand Mufti of Al Azhar, the country's leading religious official. The Mufti's opinion to the judge is secret.

The guilty verdict and death sentences are still subject to appeal at the Court of Cassation.